- Make the sign of the cross.
- Pour water over the child’s head while saying the following “(Child’s name), I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19). The water should be poured in three distinct intervals – hitting the child’s head when you say the words Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It’s important to quote Matthew word for word – this is a requirement set forth in the Didache, a manual of church discipline that has been used by Christians beginning in the first or second centuries.
- If possible, place a small amount of perfumed oil on the child’s forehead as a symbol of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment.
- That’s about it. The most important elements are water, the quote from Matthew, and an earnest desire to perform a valid baptism. If you have these three things you can perform an acceptable baptism in an emergency situation.
January 1, 2011
How to Perform an Emergency Baptism
Although it is typical, and preferred, for a priest or deacon to perform a baptism ceremony at a church in front of family and friends, anyone can perform an emergency baptism. Example of emergency situations could include a serious car accident or sudden illness where a clergy member is not present. Tradition in the Catholic faith has taught that babies that die prior to being baptized are sent to limbo rather than heaven. It is not required that the person performing the baptism be baptized or even Catholic. The way in which people are baptized differs little from one Christian religion to another. The Catholic Church recognizes all denominations of Christian baptisms, however, in case you even are in the position where you need to perform an emergency baptism, here are the typical elements you should keep in mind: